Property Spotlight: A Regal 1930s Mansion Just Outside Chicago

November 8, 2022

Thirty minutes outside Chicago, you’ll find the idyllic suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois. This stunning town is one of Chicago’s first affluent neighborhoods, and many notable individuals and historical figures have called it home. Nestled within the exclusive community, Suffield House perfectly combines classic sophistication with modern grandeur. 

The History

Built in 1934, Suffield House has American history embedded in its very DNA.  It’s the most significant work of renowned architect David Adler—one he completed in collaboration with his famous designer sister, Frances Adler Elkins. The siblings constructed the property for Lola Hughes Sheldon Armour, wife of meat-packing magnate Jonathan Ogden Armour, who was once the second-richest man in the world.

The Estate

Sprawling across 5.4 acres, the estate is hard to miss. Along with the stunning home, the property is complete with impeccable gardens, multiple swimming pools, a putting green, and a carriage house that can serve as an art studio, home office, or guest suite.

The main home’s whitewashed brick facade allows touches of warm pink to permeate through. Its neo-Georgian entrance is unique as the rest of the 15,000-square-foot home is designed in a classical French style.

A Look Inside the Main Home

The 12-bedroom mansion boasts a vast collection of priceless, perfectly preserved artwork and architectural elements. From imported English paneling, 15th-century Chinese oil paintings, exotic marbles, ornate plaster moldings, and original light fixtures to nine fireplaces, custom millwork, and a handsome Versailles patterned hardwood floor—no expense was spared in the home’s construction. 

Designed for entertaining on a grand scale, the main level features a series of exquisite formal rooms, supported by a service area that rivals the manor home in Downton Abbey—complete with a butler’s pantry, kitchen, breakfast room, silver vault, and a flower arranging room. On the second level, there are five en suite bedrooms, including a spacious primary suite, plus a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom staff apartment.

The top level offers another two-bedroom apartment, a large cedar closet, a gift-wrapping room, an exercise room, and storage space. The basement features a large, paneled rec room with a fireplace and more utilitarian spaces like a laundry center, vault, wine room, multiple storage rooms, and mechanicals. Recreational features include a beautiful pool and state-of-the-art spa. Other features include a four-car garage and storage facilities for landscaping equipment. 

On the market for the first time in 50 years, this truly exceptional home offers a rare opportunity to own an irreplaceable piece of American art and history. 

Listed for $10,100,000 USD by Jennifer Ames of Engel & Völkers Chicago.

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